NPSB looking for secretary

NATCHITOCHES PARISH JOB VACANCY: Secretary

LOCATION: Central Office

QUALIFICATIONS: High School Diploma or equivalent, Associate or Bachelor’s Degree preferred, excellent communication skills, and proficiency in computer skills.

SALARY: According to Parish Salary Schedule

TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT: 12 months

WHERE TO APPLY: Linda Page, Personnel Director

Natchitoches Parish School Board
P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
(318) 352-2358

DEADLINE: Monday, May 3, 2021; 4 p.m.

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, official transcript, and two letters of reference.


An angler’s learning curve

As a young fisherman growing up in East Texas during the 70s, there wasn’t a lot of material available on how to be a better angler.

Sure, you could go down to the local library and maybe find a few books to check out but nothing that really made you sit up and take notice. Then came along Bassmaster Magazine, oh my Lord, are you kidding me? Wow … I mean it was the greatest thing to ever happen to bass fishing!

Finally, a monthly publication dedicated to nothing but bass fishing. It definitely shortened the learning curve of my generation. It had full color sketches of baits and techniques, how to fish wood, how to fish hydrilla (grass), and even how to make the proper cast. It had tips and pointers on how to catch fish under all conditions.

It gave the results of all B.A.S.S. (Bass Angler Sportsman’s Society) tournaments and how the pro anglers caught their fish. It even had “best times to fish” calendar for every day of the month based on the moon phases. I mean are you kidding me, the moon phases. Who knew the moon had an impact on when a bass would feed or not feed. This was pure science for those of you that think bass fishing is all luck.

Leave it to Bassmaster Magazine to be the educational leader of the outdoors world. I would literally sit by the mailbox near the end of each month just waiting for mine to be delivered. Nothing lit my fire for reading more than Bassmaster Magazine! It’s probably responsible for correcting my dyslexia issue I had in my early elementary years. That’s how good Bassmaster Magazine was and still is today.

Then came VHS tapes and so many videos that showed live footage of catching bass. Videos showing live underwater footage of bass in their natural environment. They had one called “Big Mouth” that showed an angler fishing a crankbait with two sets of treble hooks and a bass inhaling the lure and spitting it out and the angler never knew he had a bite.

It was insane to think a bass could actually do this! Videos took bass fishing to a whole other level. They had professional bass fishermen like Bill Dance, Virgil Ward, John Fox, Ricky Green, Bobby and Billy Murray and one angler who many consider to be the best angler ever Roland Martin doing video presentations. “How to” videos designed to shorten your learning curve and make you a better angler.

Of course, if you had a VCR to play your VHS tapes, you were considered wealthy. But once they became more affordable, everyone had one. You could even go to Blockbuster Video Store and rent these bass fishing tapes. How cool was that?

For today’s anglers, it’s a whole other world with the amount of bass fishing videos, books and magazines available. Oh, then came this thing called the internet which has more information than hundreds of thousands of libraries. It’s an information highway that has given anglers of today the ability to look up any topic about every facet of bass fishing.

There are even videos from average anglers that like to share their fishing experiences and information via GoPro cameras.

So, the learning curve for today’s anglers has been cut in half. Instead of taking years to accumulate knowledge like it has for my generation, today’s generation can learn the same amount of information in just a few weeks.

But there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 40 plus years of bass fishing experience: there’s no replacing time on the water. No book, no video and no internet can replace time on the water. This is how an average angler can become a great angler.

‘Til next time, don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf
Owner/Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
And Tackle Talk Live


Notice of Death — April 29, 2021

Dennis “Buddy” Byrnside
March 19, 1958 – April 28, 2021
Service: Friday, April 30, 2021 at Enterprise Cemetery in Farmervile.

James Wesley Colvin
October 7, 1929 – April 25, 2021
Service: Friday, April 30, 2021 at New Hope Baptist Church in Choudrant; 2 p.m.

Laura Denise Spillers
May 27, 1961 – April 23, 2021
Visitation: Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Culberson Baptist Church in Farmerville; 2-3 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Culberson Baptist Church in Farmerville; 3 p.m.


La. Gov. Edwards eases mask mandate restrictions

By T. Scott Boatright

While warning Louisiana residents that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, Gov. John Bel Edwards has annoucned the end to Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate.

That move returns the power to businesses and local governments to set their own face covering restrictions.

“We are not on a one-way street moving away from the pandemic,” Edwards said. “It is very much a two-way street and we do not want to go in the other direction.”

Edwards is still asking the public to wear face coverings and said that state government buildings and asked that others continue to do so, too.

“I will continue to wear a mask when in public when I am close to folks. I think it’s the right thing to do for public health. It’s also the respectful thing to do,” Edwards said. “We know that masks work. The science is clear.”

The statewide mask mandate was first issued in July 2020 following a summer surge in coronavirus cases after easing restrictions caused the governor to act with more stringent measures.

Now it will be up to private businesses and local governments to decide whether they want to implement a mask mandate.


Grambling fire chief on leave without pay following arrest

By T. Scott Boatright

Grambling Mayor Edward Jones said Wednesday night that Grambling Fire Chief Patrick Conley has been placed on leave without pay following Conley’s domestic abuse arrest last week in Ruston.

Conley, 41, allegedly attacked his wife the night of April 20 (Tuesday) after she reportedly tried to calm him down in the midst of a PSTD nightmare. Conley reportedly grabbed her hair and forced her head toward his pelvic region after she touched his arm trying to settle him.

His wife also told officers that Conley had locked himself in the bedroom over the previous weekend, refusing to come out and spend time with family.

She reported that after dropping their children off at school, she locked herself in their bathroom and told him she was planning to leave their marriage. Conley allegedly then became angry and reportedly began yelling after she took off her wedding ring.

Conley’s arrest affidavit says that during the incident, Conley’s wife attempted to leave the residence but that he refused to let her do so.

She said she locked herself again in the bathroom and called authorities. She reported Conley then forced his way into the bathroom but quickly fled after realizing she was one the phone with police.

Conley is reported to later have checked himself into Northern Louisiana Medical Center and was booked into the Lincoln Parish Detention Center on the charge of domestic abuse battery (child endangerment), false imprisonment and attempted sexual battery.

He reportedly remained in the LPDC Wednesday night with no bond set.

Jones said the city of Grambling is continuing to review the situation.


Tech food pantry increases focus on assisting students

Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ

By T. Scott Boatright

Louisiana Tech University’s food pantry celebrated a new look and increased focus Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its site in Carson-Taylor Hall on the Tech campus.

The Good Nutrition Mission Food Pantry existed for years before the COVID-19 pandemic but has become especially important since the outbreak and Tech students returning to campus last fall.

“We’ve serviced anywhere from 200 to 300 students, since the pandemic, prior to that, we were probably only servicing about 50 to 80 students, so it’s grown substantially,” said Tech Food Pantry founder Catherine Fontenot, a professor at the university.

Fontenot said students must have a Louisiana Tech University student I.D., phone number, and email address in order to receive items from the Food Pantry.

Those wishing to donate to Tech’s Food Pantry can go online to https://securelb.imodules.com/s/810/rd/interior.aspx?sid=810&gid=1&pgid=340&cid=860. To find out more about the Food Pantry, go to https://www.latech.edu/food-pantry/.


Bearcat baseball hosts playoff twinbill Saturday

Ruston High School baseball photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ

Staff writer

Can the red-hot Ruston Bearcats baseball team pull off a two-step Saturday and dance into the LHSAA Class 5A playoff quarterfinals?

Yes, if Ruston stretches its remarkable roll to 15 straight wins by sweeping a regional round doubleheader at the Ruston Sports Complex against Central of Baton Rouge.

The teams play the first of a best-of-three series Saturday at 2 p.m., then play a nightcap at 5:30 p.m. If necessary, a decisive third game will be at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Ruston (25-8) is the fifth seed in the 32-team state playoff bracket, which was cut in half by first-round results including the Bearcats’ 4-1 victory over Ponchatoula Monday and Central’s 9-3 win Tuesday over Hahnville.

Central is the 12th seed. The Wildcats (21-10) had a 12-game winning streak coming down the stretch in mid-April, but won just one of their last five games going head up against District 6-5A rivals Zachary, Live Oak and Walker. Live Oak was the No. 3 seed in the playoffs but was upset in the opening round by Ouachita. Walker is the No. 6 seed and blanked Destrehan in the first round.

The potential quarterfinal round opponents for Ruston, assuming the Bearcats advance, are No. 4 Sam Houston and 20th-seeded East Ascension.

CEDAR CREEK TENNIS: Today’s the day, if weather doesn’t get in the way, for Cedar Creek’s entries in the LHSAA Division IV tennis championships in Monroe.

Three rounds are slated today in singles competition, where James Black and Anderson Maxwell represent the Cougars. Margaret Gilmore of Cedar Creek qualified for the girls singles bracket.

Semifinals and finals are planned for Friday.


Opportunity: Courtesy Automotive Team

Opportunity: Courtesy Automotive Team

Sales Consultant – $2,500 a month
Courtesy Automotive Team is looking for highly motivated sales personnel. We are growing with the addition of a new store and both locations are in need of motivated team members. We offer a minimum pay of $2,500 a month to start. Training and all needed materials will be provided. There is also an opportunity to make more from the start with bonuses and commission. Five-day work week and vacation days provided. Health and Dental insurance offered. Daily training with experienced managers. Send in resume or apply in person at Courtesy Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac of Ruston. Full-time, $2,500.00 per month with benefits such as 401(k), Dental insurance, employee discount, health insurance, paid time off. 10 hour shift, commission pay, High school or equivalent education (Preferred), 1 year Sales Experience (Preferred), 1 year Customer Service (Preferred), Driver’s License (Preferred), Paid Training, Typical start time: 8 a.m., Typical end time: 6 p.m., Company’s website: http://www.buycourtesy.com Apply in person at either Courtesy dealership.

Service Advisor – $14 – $17 an hour
Opportunity to work for a great Family-Owned Business with Great pay and benefits. Base salary plus commission and bonuses. Customer service oriented. Family environment. Job Responsibilities: Communicates with Customers to schedule service appointments, Greets customers upon arrival for service appointments and checks in customer vehicles. Listens to customers concerns and vehicle symptoms, clarifying description of problems, inspecting vehicles Prepare Repair Orders for technicians by describing problems heard from customers. Communicates with technicians about vehicle, repair status and develops estimates of materials, supplies and labor to present to customer. Present customer estimates and obtain customer approval for services required and recommended. Maintains a positive relationship with the customer throughout the entire process from scheduling up to delivery of vehicle after completed repairs. Recommended Skills: Problem solving, Customer Service, Communication skills, Automotive Knowledge, Experience Highly Encouraged. Full-time position Benefits: Dental insurance, Health insurance, Paid time off, 10 hour shift, Commission pay, High school education equivalent (Preferred) 1 year Customer Service (Preferred), Driver’s License (Preferred) Typical start time: 7 a.m. Typical end time: 5 p.m.. Apply in person at either Courtesy dealership.


Ruston thinclads rock the regionals, bring home two titles, 25 state qualifiers

RHS Track and Field team photo by AMY VESSEL.

Staff writer

NATCHITOCHES — Ruston High School’s track and field teams rose to the occasion Wednesday. And kept rising.

The Bearcats were favored to defend their 2019 Region I-5A championship and did.

Ruston’s Lady Bearcats were expected to fight for the 2021 regional title – and did so successfully.

RHS swept the regional crowns at Northwestern State’s storied Walter P. Ledet Track Complex while recording 25 top three finishes, 15 by the boys, that qualified for next Saturday’s state championships at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium.

“We came here hoping to move a lot of our athletes forward to the state meet, and wanting to bring home regional championships,” said RHS coach Allen Whitaker. “We did that, and more. We had school records, we had PRs (personal records). We’re now in position to be in position to win next Saturday in Baton Rouge. I’m a very proud coach.”

Ruston won 13 events, seven from the boys. Three school records fell – two by the Lady Bearcats.

And oh, by the way, Brandon Green popped the nation’s second-ranked triple jump, breaking his own school record by an inch with a 50-4 1/4 leap. That was one of three wins for the meet’s Outstanding Field Event Athlete, who had a personal record 23-2 mark in the long jump, threatening the RHS standard, and missed the school record by one-tenth of a second while taking the 300 meter hurdles in 39.3.

The junior is making the spectacular seem routine.

He went 50-3 to open the outdoor season, becoming only the fifth 50-footer in North Louisiana history, including future USA Olympians LaMark Carter and Hollis Conway. He nearly soared 50 on his first try Wednesday, then got past that on the second attempt and curtailed efforts afterward, saving gas in the tank for the upcoming hurdles race.

Many others on the Ruston squads are routinely remarkable, and able to rise up at the right time.

For example, LSU signee Dyllon Nimmers was a double-winner Wednesday as anticipated, in the 800 and 3200, taking the eight-lap race in a lean at the line over a valiant Byrd competitor.

Case in point: Jada Green, doubled up with gold in the 200 and 400 dashes.

There was Corlasia Scott, roaring to a school-record 44.3 clocking while taking second in the 300 hurdles, and also contributing blistering legs on winning 4×100 and 4×400 relays. That 4×4 unit, with Tyra Fields, Scott, Kemiah Spencer and Kiona McCallister, carried the stick around in 3:57 – a 20-second improvement of their winning mark at the District 2-5A meet a week earlier.

That other school record for the RHS girls? Scott was involved again, with the same 4×1 foursome (Spencer, Green, Fields and Scott) which excels in the 4×2. They won in 1:39.1, the state’s fastest in 2021, lowering the Lady Bearcats’ best ever for the third time this spring.

McCallister grabbed more gold in the 800. Other Lady Bearcats state qualifiers: Fields, second in the 200 behind only Green; Lily Garrett, third in the 1600, and also with a leg on the silver medal 4×800 unit that will run again next Saturday.

Along with Green’s three triumphs, and the two from Nimmers, the Bearcats’ other gold medal performances came in relays, the 4×100 squad and from the heavily favored 4×800 squad of Andrew McCaskill, Titus Watts, Nelson Blackburn and Bryar Madden. The 4×1 crew nipped Captain Shreve 41.78 to 41.79.

The RHS boys recorded eight seconds, notably two by Ke’Travion “Bull” Hargrove in the 100 dash and the long jump, where he had a dramatic PR of 22-8. Down to his last jump, Hargrove was on the outside looking in, not in the top three that moved forward to statewide competition. Sprints coach Kevin Jackson, whose dad is the jumps coach at TCU, checked in with a suggestion. Hargrove made the adjustment and nailed the best jump of his career.

Other silver medals went to high jumper Jamarion Reed, Caleb Babineaux in the 1600, Demarion Rhone in the 200, (21.9), Josiah Whitaker on Nimmers’ heels in the 800, and in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays.


Social media bill passes through state Senate committee

By T. Scott Boatright

The Louisiana Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs Committee on Wednesday moved forward a bill that if passed would allow state residents to sue major social media companies that are believed to intentionally delete or censor political or religious speech.

The bill passed by a vote of 4-2

Senate Bill 196 by Sen. Jay Morris, R-West Monroe, is aimed at websites with 75 million members or more, specifically meaning Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. If passed, plaintiffs could claim actual damages and punitive damages up to $75,000.

The bill is a Louisiana version of the Stop Social Media Censorship Act, which 29 states have considered similar legislation for though none have enacted it into law.

Center Square of Louisiana reported that Eric Peterson, who works on technology issues for the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, said the bill would violate Section 230 and the First Amendment of the Constitution and could also affect other social medias like eBay and Shopify that might not want to host anything dealing with any kind of political commentary.

“They have the right to edit their content as they see fit,” Center Square reported Peterson as saying.


NFL Draft Q&A with Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams

Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Media Relations

The LPJ caught up with former Louisiana Tech all-conference defensive lineman Milton Williams prior to the start of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Question: What has been the most surprising part of this NFL Draft entire process?

Answer: The most surprising part for me has been the amount of teams reaching out to me. When I first came out everyone said they did not really know who I was. However, once my numbers came out from my pro day, everyone was like ‘Hold on, we need to figure out who this kid is.’ I have now had a conversation with at least one representative from every team in the league.

(Williams Pro Day Numbers: 4.62 in 40-yard dash; 34 reps on bench press; 6.87 on 3-cone; 4.33 on short shuttle; 38.5 vertical; 10.1 broad jump)

Question: Does it bother you when you see people label you as being from a “small school” or “mid-major”?

Answer: No. I feel like I could have played anywhere in the country. I wanted to play against the best teams. That is just my thing. We could have played Alabama, Texas, whoever. Whoever was in front of me they were going to have to work against me. Mid-major or not. I worked for everything I got, and I believed in my talent.

Question: What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about what to expect the next few nights?

Answer: I was talking to Amik Robertson about a week ago. He was giving me his point of view from his experience. He said do not get too high. Do not get too low. Just enjoy the moment and enjoy your family. It is all going to work out in the end. You do not know where you are going to go. Just be patient and your name is going to be called.

Question: What are you hearing from your agent or NFL scouts about where you may be drafted?

Answer: At first, I was hearing a fifth or sixth round pick. I talked to my agent a few days ago, and he is saying I have a late first or early second round grade. So late first. If not the first round, then for sure the second. That is what I am thinking going into it.

Question: Do you have a preference of where you go?

Answer: No. No preference. Whoever calls my name they are going to get my all and they are going to get someone who is ready to put in some work.

Question: Who was your favorite NFL team growing up and why?

Answer: Seattle Seahawks. I was a big video gamer when I was younger. I remember one of the first video games I played was Madden 07. Sean Alexander was on the cover. So I use to always play with the Seahawks and from that day on, I thought that was going to be my favorite team.

Question: Would it be nice to be drafted by a team close to your home so you could play close to your family?

Answer: I think it would be cool to be drafted by the Cowboys. You know the Cowboys have one of the biggest fan bases in the world. They have Cowboy fans everywhere. To be able to wear that star, that would be big.


Tech Mechanical Engineering senior earns prestigious DoD scholarship

Press release

Louisiana Tech University Mechanical Engineering senior Richard Fontenot has earned a SMART (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense for his academic and research success.

The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students who excel in studies and complex research with a full scholarship and opportunities to research during summer internships with experts in their fields.

In addition to being a top-notch student, Fontenot has honed his research skills over the past three years, performing innovative research focused on heat transfer and spacecraft applications, specifically controlling thermal energy of spacecraft using ferrofluids, on projects with Dr. Arden Moore, associate professor of mechanical engineering and nanotechnology engineering for Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science and Institute of Micromanufacturing, and his team at The Multiscale Energy Transport and Materials Laboratory.

Last summer he added a remote internship with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to his resume.

After graduation in May, Fontenot will continue to work with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate over summers and will pursue a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at Rice University, where his SMART Scholarship will cover all educational expenses and a health insurance allowance, as well as provide him with an annual stipend.

At Rice, he will take the hands-on research experience that he’s had at Louisiana Tech to focus on spacecraft and heat transfer research.

“The fellowship creates a clear path for graduate school, and that path is in a large part because of Louisiana Tech,” Fontenot said. “I’ve had opportunities as a Tech student that I don’t believe I would have had at another school. Dr. Moore is a world-class researcher, and he makes time to meet with me for weekly research meetings. I’ve learned a lot working in his lab, but the most important two things I’ve learned with research are patience and perseverance. If something doesn’t work correctly the first time, and it rarely does, stay stubborn, and ask for help if you need it.”

Fontenot said he is thankful for the opportunities that he’s earned through Louisiana Tech and the connections he’s made at the Tech.

In addition to research with Moore, including proof of concept research on a reliable, variable emissivity surface using ferrofluid for small spacecraft applications that is about to be published and on which he’s the first author, Fontenot has spent his senior year developing a thermal management solution to prevent catastrophic failure resulting from thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries with a team of his fellow mechanical engineers, Abigail Morgan, Nicholas Mueller, and Carli Raupp. The team will present the project at the 2021 College of Engineering and Science Senior Projects Conference on Friday, May 7.

“The support system at the University and at the College of Engineering and Science has been incredible. Everyone has been invested in my success: Dr. Moore and my fellow students, especially my senior design team, have helped me become a better communicator and researcher. Dr. (Hisham) Hegab (dean of the College of Engineering and Science) and Dr. (Heath) Tims (associate dean of undergraduate studies for the College of Engineering and Science) have also shown great interest in my growth as a student.”

“Richard’s prestigious scholarship is well-deserved,” Moore said. “Besides his academic talent, work ethic, and leadership skills, his positive attitude and ability to function well on a team have benefited every project he has been a part of. As a faculty member at Louisiana Tech, I am grateful that we have students of this caliber in the classroom and in the laboratory.”

Fontenot is currently serving as a College of Engineering and Science Senator for Louisiana Tech’s Student Government Association, president of the Mechanical Engineering honors society, Pi Tau Sigma, and is an active member of COES Ambassadors. He’s also a proud Eagle Scout. He earned the College of Engineering and Science Outstanding Senior award in 2021 and Outstanding Junior award in 2020 and the Louisiana Tech University Freshman Engineering Student of the Year award in 2018.


Roll into the weekend with ‘Skate Jam’

By T. Scott Boatright

Lincoln Parish residents wanting to roll into a great weekend can get things started from noon-3 p.m. Saturday as Skatepark of Ruston holds a “Skate Jam.”

The event will take place at the Old Historic Fire Station located at 200 E. Mississippi Ave. in Ruston.

“Something is promised for everyone,” including food and kids activities. People can either view or participate in riding some rails, jumping some ramps and “growing through experimentation,” event organizers said.

Those attending the event can learn of plans for a skatepark to be built in Ruston.


Notice of Death – April 28, 2021

James Wesley Colvin
October 7, 1929 – April 25, 2021
Visitation: Thursday, April 29, 2021 at the New Hope Baptist Church Family Life Center in Choudrant; 6-8 p.m.
Service: Friday, April 30, 2021 at New Hope Baptist Church in Choudrant; 2 p.m.

Shemar Malik Evans
January 24, 2002 – April 21, 2021

Laura Denise Spillers
May 27, 1961 – April 23, 2021
Visitation: Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Culberson Baptist Church in Farmerville; 2-3 p.m.
Service: Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Culberson Baptist Church in Farmerville; 3 p.m.

Lillie Mae Washington
April 11, 1939 – April 21, 2021